A social worker has been sanctioned by the HCPC after admitting to not maintaining records of children’s cases.
The HCPC found the social worker did not record in a timely manner updates about visits, meetings or assessments in relation to 16 different service users.
His performance was of concern to the council for four years before he was dismissed in 2014, the HCPC panel heard, and he received regular support and supervision throughout this period.
A 2014 review of the social worker’s performance said he had not achieved “acceptable professional standard of recording and caseload and time management”, and that he had “an obvious lack of confidence” in his ability to improve.
The social worker admitted to the failings, and submitted a reflective statement to the panel accepting the need for social workers to maintain accurate records. A consent order – which allows a registrant to provisionally agree an outcome with the HCPC – was taken out as he admitted the failings and there was no need for a contested hearing.
In mitigation for his failings, he told the panel that delays in some of his cases of three to six months were unacceptable and cited “the high workload that he was under”. He also said he felt inadequate and that there was “an impact on his health”.
“The registrant concedes there is a potential negative impact from the lack of adequate recording and relevant reporting, on the council, service users, families, the reputation of social workers and other professionals,” the panel said in its judgement.
The panel decided to impose a two-year conditions of practice order on the social worker.
“The registrant acknowledges that if records are not kept, there is no evidence that visits took place and/or that the work concerned has been undertaken,” the panel said.
“There is an admission that public confidence in social workers would be affected if it was known that he was not documenting information properly, meaning that vital information could be missed.”
Last year, the social worker began a job as a residential support worker. He said the time away from social work and the competency process with the HCPC had helped him “find better skills to enable him to deal with adverse situation”.
He said he would like to return to social work in the future, but this would not be in a frontline service such as child protection.
As part of the conditions of practice order, he must keep the HCPC updated on any return to social work practice he makes. He must also develop a personal development plan with a supervisor if he is employed as a social worker and have regular reviews of how he can meet that plan.